PADUCAH, Ky. – Within a few weeks, the college basketball recruiting world will know whether top-ranked junior Thon Maker will remain in high school another year or reclassify and immediately become the hottest prospect available in the senior class.
Maker’s guardian, Ed Smith, told The Courier-Journal Saturday night at McCracken County’s Mustang Madness that Maker’s semester at his Canadian high school ends on Jan. 28. They’ll take a couple days to evaluate his grades and which courses he’s lacking, then announce by the first week of February if he’ll stay in the 2016 class or skip a grade, graduate this year and be eligible for college ball next season.
Smith said Maker, who has little else to prove basketball-wise on the high school level, will reclassify if his academic workload will allow it.
“We’re going to push,” Smith said. “At this stage, it’s not that he’s overdominating the competition – although he is dominating the position – but he needs to get in a higher-level type setting.”
Kentucky, Indiana and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Louisville are among the college teams hoping to land the 7-foot phenom this year or next. UK coach John Calipari and assistant Kenny Payne attended his game on Saturday night, when he had 17 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots for Orangeville Prep of Ontario in a 63-55 win over Prolific Prep of California, which features top-three another junior, Josh Jackson.
Smith said Maker, who’s ranked No. 1 in 2016 by Rivals.com, has been “aggressive” in loading up on NCAA-mandated core courses for freshman eligibility, and he will finish all those requirements this semester with probably a 3.8 grade-point average or better. The question will then become if Maker has enough hours in the average week over the next several months to complete the early-graduation requirements specific to his high school, Orangeville District Secondary School.
Maker is in his first year at Orangeville after transferring from the Carlisle School in Virginia.
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